Category Archives: Nuts

Walnut & Dark Chocolate Scones

One day I might get sick of Foster the People.

One day I will find the perfect chocolate cake recipe.

One day I’ll definitely have cereal for dinner.

One day I could get to see Orcas in real life.

One day I’m going to go shopping with wild abandonment.

One day I shall make my way to Vienna and Germany.

One day I hope to take my mom on a holiday.

Today though, I shall smell like walnut and dark chocolate scones, have lunch with some of my favourite people, then dinner with more favourite people, talk about everything over brownies, listen to more Foster the People, figure out how to do my hair and then change my mind all over again.

It’s really a lot easier focusing on all the things that keep you happy. Some days, the annoyingly optimistic kid in me reminds me that the best things about a crummy day is that it’ll eventually end. And when it does, you better be prepared to embrace the good stuff. There’s no waiting around for it to come back again; think about it…would you sit around while some random stranger comes and takes away the perfect dress?! Thought so.

Wait, is this me being smarter than usual?

I kid. The truth of the matter is, my dad came home for a surprise visit yesterday. My man bought me a cookbook just because. The cutest little boy loved the cake I baked so much that he gave me two thumbs up; twice, and wouldn’t share it with anyone else. My mom did a massive grocery shop up for me. My sister’s coming to dinner tonight. The other one’s thinking about us all the way in London.

It’s all love here!

Walnut and Dark Chocolate Scones [adapted from Gluten-free Gourmand]

1 3/4 cups GF flour blend
1/4 cup oat/sorghum flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
90g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
80g dark chocolate, chopped
50g walnuts, roughly chopped

1) Preheat oven to 210°C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper or Silpat mat.

2) Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

3) Whisk the cream, vanilla and egg together.

4) Cut the butter into the flour mix, either by hand, food processor or stand mixer until it resembles breadcrumbs.

5) Mix in the liquids until combined. Stir in the chocolate and walnuts.

6) Tip the scone batter onto the prepared tray and shape into a large rectangle, about 1.5 inches tall. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and gently cut into 9 pieces. Bake for a further 4-5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

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Filed under Breakfast, Chocolate, Nuts, Recipes

Boozy Lemon Polenta Cardamom Cake

It’s been a good weekend. The sort of weekend you feel you’re not really in the same country. It’s great how doing something entirely different from your regular routine can add a little sparkle into an otherwise ‘it-passed-too-fast’ weekend.

My best friend and I decided we should head to the zoo. I wanted to see the polar bears; she the giraffes. Pity the polar bear enclosure wasn’t open (renovations were underway to merge it with a new project) so luckily Nisa managed to feed the giraffes, or we might’ve found smelling like that totally no worth it.

A lunch spread later, we found her car had contracted a case of flat tyre caused by a nail which we possibly ran over while driving and singing Kelly Clarkson’s Mr Know it All (or in my case, MISS know it all. Bottomline; don’t judge if you haven’t a clue!) ANYWAY, being the resourceful girls we are, a phone call was made, and the car was saved. We even managed to catch a movie!

If your idea of a good time is laughing so hard you’re crying, and then deciding that at the end of the movie, you’d like to watch it all over again, I strongly recommend watching What’s Your Number. Anna Faris is cute and Chris Evans is known as the human torch for a bloody good reason.

Hello my name is Victoria and I’m addicted to highly attractive men.

And cake.

Boozy Lemon Polenta Cardamom Cake

200g butter, unsalted and softened
150g sugar
220g almond meal
100g polenta
1.5 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 tbsp Amaretto
1 tbsp Limoncello
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 2 lemons

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 8-capacity mini loaf tin. This recipe makes 7 full mini loaves.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy and lightened in colour. You can also do this by hand with a big bowl and a wooden spoon.

3) Beat in the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add in the dry ingredients and mix well. Add in the remaining ingredients and beat on medium-high until blended through. Divide the mixture evenly into 7 of the 8 loaves. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

4) Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out. The loaves are served upside down. Prick the loaves with a skewer and pour the syrup over the top. Allow to absorb and cool completely before topping with lemon glaze. I added some Indian candy floss-like confectionery on top but don’t stress if you haven’t any.

Soaking Syrup

1/2 cup icing sugar
3 tbsp hot water
2 tsp Cardamom-Clove Syrup from Royal Rose (or you can try using a strong Chai tea instead of water)
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1) Mix well in a bowl and ensure there are no lumps.

 

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Filed under Cakes, Fruit, Nuts, Recipes

Peanut Butter Thumbprints with Caramel

Today I dropped by the post office and returned my parcel from ASOS. It was free to have it shipped here, but cost me $35 to return it. Lesson learnt; I’m never going online clothes shopping again. Next time I’ll just stick to books and rubber stamps. I love rubber stamps.

Today I spent a mini fortune on a package of laser sessions to remove the awful spots under my eyes. My eyes are still rather sensitive now…and there are black spots where they burned it. Oh man, I hope they clear up before I start work. Then again, the black spots could be a thing where people think I’m unattractive and boom! when they disappear, it’s like whoa! Who knew she wasn’t polkadotted.

Yeah, that might work.

If not, I’ll just blind everyone with these amazingly delish cookies and they’ll instantly fail to notice the burns under my eyes.

These cookies are AAAAAH-MAZING. Even if you’re being a bum and decide that scrubbing a caramlised pot isn’t what you signed up for, make them plain with the traditional criss-cross pattern. It’s really something I tell you. I’ve had peanut butter cookies but I’ve never had these! The caramel sets semi-solid, if you want it harder and chewy, I suggest relocating them to your fridge. Enjoy my lovelies!

Peanut Butter Thumbprints with Caramel (adapted from Sur La Table’s The Art and Soul or Baking)

Thumbprint Cookies

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup peanut butter, room temperature (I used chunky, do NOT use natural PB)
1 1/2 cup GF flour blend
1/4 cup oat flour
1 tbsp sweet rice flour
1/4 tsp baking soda

1) Preheat oven to 175°C and position two oven racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2) Place the butter, brown sugar and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream until lightened in colour. You can also do this by hand. Scrape down the bowl and add in the egg and vanilla and mix well. Add in the peanut butter and beat until well blended. Scrape down bowl once more.

3) In a medium bowl, whisk all the flours and baking soda together. Add to the butter mixture all at once. Turn mixer to lowest speed and blend slowly until fully incorporated. Remove from the mixer and stir gently to ensure everything is well mixed.

4) Using an ice cream scopp, portion tablespoon-sized mounds onto the prepare baking sheets, spacing them about 4 cm apart. Use the rounded handle end of a wooden spatula or another similar utensil to make a depression, about an inch in diameter in the centre of each cookie.

5) Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden and just firm to touch and edges are darker. Transfer to cooling rack. Immediately reinforce the depression in each cookie using the same kitchen utensil but be careful not to crack the cookie. Let cool completely and fill with the caramel. Allow filling to cool and set for an hour, store in the refrigerator.

Peanut Caramel

1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup finely diced almonds, toasted

1) Microwave the cream in a microwave-safe bowl until just hot. Set aside.

2) Place the water in a medium saucepan. Add sugar, corn syrup and salt. Cook the sugar mixture over a medium heat, stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula until sugar dissolves. Set the hot cream on the counter next to the stovetop. Turn heat to high and cook the sugar until it turns a golden brown. Immediately turn off the heat and whisk in the cream, adding it in a slow, steady stream. Whisk to blend caramel well. Pour into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool until warm and pourable before adding in nuts.

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Filed under Caramel, Cookies, Nuts, Recipes

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

This morning feels slightly different. It’s a Friday, that’s a good reason to feel a little somethingsomething in the air. It’s also my last day at work, with a few days break before I fly off next week. But I think the real reason why there’s change in the air is this; I have chocolate cookies baking.

But these aren’t ordinary cookies. They require much more effort and you need to whip out a large knife, which in my opinion, makes baking a much more intense process. I LOVE IT!

It’s a strange thing when there’s a new found skip in your step, you want to do something new. Partake in an activity that requires a little extra step or a new route. It’s equivalent to a new found freedom, to abandon the same paths we take to get to a point that’s the same as before but the scenary’s now totally different. What’s that called? Hmm…perspective?

So these cookies gave me a new perspective. They’re thin and chewy; two characteristics that don’t usually belong together. But there’s definitely no reason why they shouldn’t. After all, a large puffy chewy cookie borders on being a flat cake to me. But what’s really quite cool about this cookie is the fact that the chocolate gets chopped into tiny pieces and mixed into the cookie, offering an intense chocolate-y-ness in each bite. It’s spread throughout the cookie so not one has more or less chips.

Thin and Chewy Chocolate Cookies (adapted from here)

2 cups GF flour blend

1 scant tbsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking soda

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

¾ cup sugar

240g unsalted butter, softened

2 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract

300g finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

240g almond meal

1. Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl; set aside. In a bowl, beat sugars and butter with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time; beat in vanilla. Add reserved flour mixture, chocolate, and ground almonds; mix until just combined.

2. Heat oven to 160°C. Divide dough into 1 tbsp portions; roll into balls, transfer to parchment paper–lined baking sheets spaced 3″ apart, and flatten. Bake until set, about 15 minutes.

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Filed under Chocolate, Cookies, Nuts, Recipes

Peanut Butter, Jelly and Chocolate Cupcakes

Easter’s coming, I think I should have a party. Then I have every reason to have rabbits, eggs and confetti all on one table; and no one can say anything.

And I’d bake, make a mess and have frosting on my elbows. And everyone knows you can’t lick your elbows no matter how much you twist yourself. Unless you have funny bones, then I suppose the rule doesn’t apple to you.

I think I’ll have an elbow licking competition. We’d all lose and no one could gloat about it. To comfort the sore prides that will be so badly wounded I’d feed my guests peanut butter and jelly cupcakes with chocolate drizzled over for good measure. The only problem is, my sister comes home this evening and jetlag is bound to kick in at around 4am. Don’t say I told you this but guess who likes a sweet snack at an ungodly hour?

I remember the first time she came home from boarding school. I heard a sound or two and roused from my deep slumber only to find her walking towards the door and closing it behind her. Odd. So I followed and found her rummaging through the fridge for something. So we sat at the table with ice cream, cookies, crackers and gummies and ate until she felt slightly sleepy. Giggled all the way upstairs at the crazy stunt we just pulled and fell back to sleep. And it’s been a tradition since then. My mom and my older sister know, but they don’t join in. Just us mad people here.

Peanut Butter, Jelly and Chocolate Cupcakes (makes 12)

Vanilla Cupcake (based on a traditional hot milk cake recipe)

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup and 2 tbsp GF flour blend
1  1/8 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup and 2 tbsp milk
70g butter
1 tsp vanilla

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Line 12 muffin holes with paper liners.

2) In a stand mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar until thick, fluffy and triple in volume.

3) Mix the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.

4) In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and butter together until butter melts and milk starts to bubble slightly. Remove from heat. DO NOT ALLOW TO COOL.

5) Add the flour into the fluffy eggs and whisk until completely combined. Slow pour in the milk mixture with all the time with the whisk still on, but speed down to low.

6) Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. The cupcakes will shrink and sink slightly as they cool. Frost!

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used chunky)
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
40g butter, softened
2 tbsp heavy cream

1) In a bowl of a stand mixer, mix the peanut butter and butter together until smooth. Add in 3/4 cup of icing sugar and mix to combine. Blend in the heavy cream and beat on high until fluffy. If mixture if too soft, add in the remaining icing sugar. Use immediately or refrigerate.

To Assemble

1/3 cup jam (I used a sour cherry jam)
1/3 cup chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly

1) Spread each cupcakes  with about 2 tbsp of frosting, be sure to fill in the sunken cavity. Top each cupcake with 1/2 tsp of jam and drizzle the melted chocolate over. Easy peasy lemon squeasy!

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Filed under Chocolate, Frostings, Nuts, Recipes